In a relatively short time, Wise has made a name for itself as a leading provider of fair, transparent, and low-cost international money transfers. It serves both personal and business customers. The company is committed to offering customers easy access to the best available exchange rates along with reasonable fees that ensure your recipient gets the maximum possible amount.
Wise was initially formed in 2011 and was incorporated in 2015. It is headquartered in New York City. According to the company’s website, Wise was born out of frustration with a financial system that failed to provide customers with access to fair rates on international money transfers.
Today, Wise is a thriving business that has served more than nine million customers. This ranks it as one of the most widely used international money transfer services on the internet. As of 2020, the Wise family includes an estimated 2,000 employees worldwide, which also puts the company among top industry leaders.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of using Wise’s money transfer services.
Pros and Cons of Wise
- Excellent transparency, fair rates, and reasonable fees
- Generous “guaranteed rate” quotes that remain valid for up to 72 hours
- Personalized, responsive customer service and convenient account setup features
- It isn’t always as fast as some competitors
- The service is available in a limited number of countries
What Does Wise Offer?
Customers can use Wise to initiate transfers with funds denominated in 24 currencies, including most major global currencies. Recipients can receive funds in a longer list of currencies, and Wise operates in 60 countries, territories, and jurisdictions.
Wise offers guaranteed rates, which remain valid for a fixed (but short) period of time after you receive your quote. To lock in the guaranteed rate, you must submit payment for your transfer promptly. Guaranteed rates remain valid for 2-72 hours, depending on your location.
Like many other international money transfer services, Wise does have some limits on the amount of money you can send. However, unlike many competitors, these limits are flexible. Exact limits depend on which country you are in when you initiate your transfer, but customers have the option to circumvent them by sending multiple transfers that fall below these limits. Wise does not place any restrictions on the number of transactions you can make in a given period of time.
Wise completes most transactions within one to two working days after converting your original currency into the destination currency. This process can take up to two additional days, depending on the currencies you’re dealing in. Bank-level encryption and cybersecurity safeguard you every step of the way, so you can rest assured your personal data is protected.
What To Expect on the Site
Wise guides new customers into its system by encouraging them to follow these steps:
- Use the built-in widget in the Wise website or app to check out its exchange rates and fees. Plug sample numbers into the widget in either the local or destination currency to obtain an accurate estimate of the cost of your transfer.
- Set up a free account if you decide to proceed with the transfer. Note that you may need to verify your identity, depending on the country you live in. The verification process can take one to three days.
- Provide the recipient’s details. Your recipient does not need to have a Wise account to be eligible to receive money. However, you will need to provide their bank account details, as Wise does not support cash pickup options as of January 2021.
- Pay for your transfer using your preferred method of payment. As of January 2021, Wise supports credit and debit card payments, along with online banking payments. Senders in certain countries may have an expanded range of available payment options.
- Review all transaction details, confirm your transfer, and send it. Wise will take care of the rest.
Wise also supports a referral program for customers who invite friends and family to join and use the platform. Participants can earn valuable rewards every time they draw a new customer to the service.
Wise states that its services can be up to eight times cheaper than using a bank to send money internationally. When calculating the exchange rate, Wise uses the mid-market interbank rate, which represents the best available rate at any given time while foreign exchange markets are open. According to the Wise website, the company’s margins on the mid-market rate can be as low as 0.8%, which is a deal compared to what you would pay at a bank (and through many other transfer providers, for that matter).
Transaction fees vary, depending on where you are located, which currencies you are dealing in, and how you are paying for your transfer. In general, online banking payments through a linked account are the cheapest option. Wise is very transparent about its fees, providing a detailed breakdown of how much it charges and why.
Wise is similarly frank about how it uses the transaction fees it collects. Here’s a breakdown of how the company distributes the revenues it generates from transactions:
- 12% goes toward office-based operating costs
- 14% goes toward operations, customer service, and human resource costs
- 18% goes toward margins and business growth
- 20% gets reinvested into product development
- 36% pays for banking costs and administrative costs
What People Are Saying About Wise
As of July 2021, Wise has an excellent Trustpilot score. More than 122,000 customers have left a Wise review, and based on their feedback, the company has a score of 4.6 out of 5 stars:
- 85% give Wise 5 out of 5 stars
- 93% give Wise at least 4 out 5 stars
Customers mention the company’s fast transfer speeds and competitive exchange rates.
The Bottom Line
In today’s financial services marketplace, consumers increasingly value companies that are transparent, fair, and have integrity. Wise has carved out a niche in the money transfer industry for offering all three of those benefits. It isn’t always the fastest service, but it may well be the most transparent, and in the financial services industry, that counts for a lot.
As you consider which money transfer service is right for you, Wise could be a good option for consumers seeking advantageous exchange rates and reasonable transaction fees from a reputable, dependable company that provides prompt and reliable service.